How to remember to do self care when your flare makes you forget self care is a thing

From Liminal Nest: For More Info, Go Here…

One of the frustrating things about having a chronic illness is that even when there are things I can do to help a flare, often when I’m actually in a flare…I completely forget what they are, or even that they exist.

I don’t know if it’s because most flares make my brain fog kick in, so I just have trouble remembering things like words or “hey when this happens I should take my rescue meds”, or if I’m in some sort of fight/flight state where I’m so focused on avoiding danger that I can’t actually problem-solve. Either way, it’s extremely frustrating because timely interventions can help my symptoms.

I’ve been thinking about how to cope with this, and I remembered how when I was first struggling with my bipolar disorder, mental health providers made me write approximately one thousand lists of my coping skills. I mean, part of what this did was force me to confront the fact that I didn’t really have any health coping skills. But that was something I could work on with a therapist.

Another tool I’ve learned from mental health issues is using WRAP worksheets to develop not just a crisis plan, but also be able to identify in advance things like “what it looks like when I’m angry” and “things that help when I’m angry.” The “in advance” part is key, for this system you basically outsource all the hard thinking to when you’re not in crisis. Then when you’re in crisis, hopefully, you can refer to your worksheet (or you’ve had to write it down so many times that you actually remember which things help).

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